Spent two hours from five thirty a.m. today, reacquainting myself with the gym. It's been a long, lonnnnggggg time, due to my trashed foot, but first up, I had a timely reminder of the dangers of excessive, obsessional running. Put your towels down, stop playing with the settings on your heart monitors and gather round while I kvetch. There's a gym member who, for privacy's sake, I'll call Madathena - She Who Runs No Matter What. She runs and runs and runs. Despite being built like a stick insect, probably weighing less than half of what I do and being old enough to know better, she thuds down on the plate of the treadmill like a stampeding hippo and you can hear her thumpy thumpetty footfall over the shrieks and manly gruntings coming from behind the shut door of the Spinning Studio. I use the word' Studio' loosely, you understand. Also 'spinning'. Studios I imagined were for painting in and spinning was the work of spiders, no?
Anyway. Back to Madathena. She runs through thick and thin. Or, in her case, she runs through thin and thinner. She runs through injury, after numerous operations from evil surgeons who appear to collude with her in her body dysmorphia, through obvious evidence from her emaciated frame that it would far rather she concentrated on consuming several tankerloads of pasta followed by three carrier bags full of nuts, in the hopes of returning herself to a half-human bio-mass. Madathena runs marathons as a way of life. We watch and shudder. Her shape, her painful limping gait, her obvious fanaticism is painful to watch. She's killing herself in front of our eyes. Some of us, like me, the Big Mouth, beg her to eat something, but her goal is to be thin and win. She looks ill, and I know from everything I've read that she is, the poor lamb. Inside and out.
So, first thing this morning, Madathena was sitting using her arms to turn the wheel on the arm bike thingy which is the last cardiovascular machine resort of people in wheelchairs, amputees and chaps who want to beef up their arms in new and creatively torturous ways. I lasted one month doing ten minutes a week on this monster and gave up, but then, I had alternative strategies due to not being injured like she is. Except for this lady, injury is a permanent state. She limps a lot, she has to bandage her hands because the skin is breaking down, she looks so tired and weary you just want to pick her up and take her home to tuck her in, oh, Ghoddddd, I could go on and on. So, I stopped by her arm bike thingy ( stop me if i'm getting too technical here) to chat and she was for once, quite cheery, and also, looking a wee bit healthier. She'd put on a little weight, had her hair done and she looked a whole lot better. I said so, but she denied looking good. She felt fat, ugly, hadn't run for ages, but had just had a toe amputated and was hoping to run in a few weeks. Amputated? I'm sorry? Reason being, she ran a marathon recently, was in lots of pain, and discovered she'd run her twenty six mile span with a dislocated toe. Remember, it's 5.30 a.m. and I haven't eaten yet. As I swayed and the gym went dark around me, I looked at this fanatic, this brutalized and broken woman and told myself to get a grip about my running thing before I turned into a demented, but not stick-thin, obsessive.
Of course, that lasted about ten minutes till I warmed up and a little demon crept into my ear and said - go on, try a wee run, what harm can it do? To which, the short answer is that despite eight weeks of no running, I ain't over the worst of it yet. I ran slo..w....l...y. for precisely two minutes ( I checked on the digital display) and promised myself to run two and a half minutes next time and build back up sensibly and yadda yadda. and now, ten hours later, my foot hurts and I feel like kicking myself. And how illogical is that, pray? I'd have to borrow someone else's leg to do that...
Tomorrow all my other muscles will kick in with their delayed whinge, and I'll barely be able to bend down without screaming out loud. I can't beleive how unfit I am - I was doing abductors and adductors which always feel faintly gynacological ( you NEVER see the blokes using these machines) and my legs flatly refused to keep pushing the weight I used to if not lightheartedly, at least, competently shift. Not today shweethoit, it said and turned into an official fail.
I must be ill, though. I stood in the yarn department of Johnnny Loulou and didn't buy anything ( apart from three more balls of Rowan denim to carry on with the mindless blanket till I get inspired to do something else) I'm in a Knitter's Quandary, which is every bit as uncomfortable as it sounds. It seems all wrong to get immersed in a huge new project before going to Shetland. I feel as if I should go there and let a project find me.
Man. Peace and love and cashmere...